ISSAQUAH, WA — Washington recorded more than 1,000 new coronavirus cases on Friday, reaching a new daily high not seen since mid-July, according to the state Department of Health. The concerning trend in Washington comes amid a nationwide surge in illnesses and another single-day record broken across the United States.
Over the past week Washington confirmed 5,228 new coronavirus infections, 70 more deaths and 291 additional hospitalizations, according to state data. Since the pandemic began, the state has recorded 106,573 COVID-19 illnesses, and 2,366 Washingtonians have died.
According to the coronavirus risk assessment dashboard, at least 23 of Washington’s 39 counties remain in the highest transmission bracket.
In Sammamish, Public Health – Seattle & King County recorded five new cases Friday, with 34 illnesses, one hospitalizations and one new death resulting from COVID-19 over the past two weeks. The city’s 14-day testing positivity rate is sitting at 2.2 percent, while King County’s overall positivity rate has grown to at 2.9 percent. In Issaquah, three cases were added Friday, and 16 cases were recorded over 14 days, with a positivity rate of 1.4 percent. The county’s rate of new cases remains in the highest bracket, with 105 cases reported per 100,000 residents over 14 days — more than four times the target threshold.
Catch up on the latest developments:
Coronavirus activity ‘intensifying’ in Washington; officials sound alarm heading into the holidays
The Washington State Department of Health on Wednesday released its latest situation report, finding intensified coronavirus activity on both sides of the Cascades between mid-September and mid-October. Increases were seen among transmission rates, case counts and hospitalizations, and widely distributed throughout the region and across age groups. The report does not account for the past two weeks, where figures have risen even higher.
“Any spike in COVID-19 cases will jeopardize our progress toward reopening schools, strain our healthcare system and increase risks during holiday gatherings,” said Lacy Fehrenbach, Washington’s Deputy Secretary of Health for COVID-19 Response. “High rates in the community increase the chance that someone at your gathering — even people you know well and trust — could have COVID-19. If we act now, we can get these increases in control in time for the holidays.”
On Thursday, Public Health – Seattle & King County warned of a worsening coronavirus outlook, as the 14-day positivity rate in the state’s most populous county nears 3 percent.
“We clearly need a COVID-19 reboot,” said Dr. Jeff Duchin, health officer for King County. “We expected it would be more challenging to manage COVID-19 during the fall and winter, as we spend more time indoors and the environment changes, but the virus clearly has the home field advantage right now, and we need to step up our game big time.”
Duchin said the county had averaged between 170 and 190 new cases each over the past week, which is roughly 2.5 times the figures recorded in late September. King County has maintained an upward trajectory for more than five weeks.
On Friday, the county reported 385 new cases, which is a number higher than those seen during the previous two peaks.
With the holidays approaching, beginning with Halloween weekend, health officials are wary that any misstep could prompt a surge that could overwhelm the health care system.
“I feel that we’re heading down a treacherous path, and the longer we wait, the more difficult it gets to reverse the trajectory of our increasing outbreak,” Duchin said. “The upcoming holiday season greatly adds to the risk and the importance of taking action now. We don’t want to let this window of opportunity, to influence the outbreak in a favorable way, close.”
Department of Health shares Halloween safety reminders
Ahead of the first holiday weekend of the season, state and local health officials are re-sharing some reminders for anyone planning on celebrating socially.
Here are a few general tips to keep in mind:
- Wearing a mask, even with people you see regularly and in your smallest social circles and anytime you are using shared transportation, including while in your own vehicle with other people.
- Keeping gatherings small and hold them outside whenever possible.
- Avoiding any social gatherings indoors, but if you must participate, wearing a mask and ensuring windows and doors are open to maximize ventilation.
- Washing or sanitizing hands often and not touching your face.
- Staying home if you’re sick or if you’ve been exposed to COVID-19.
The DOH has also gathered several safer alternatives for Halloween and a lengthy list of health and safety reminders on its blog.
US breaks daily coronavirus record, again
In many states across the nation, the situation is even bleaker, as the United States again breaks a daily record for new coronavirus cases eight months after the pandemic began. According to the New York Times, more than 92,000 cases were recorded Friday, marking a 42 percent increase in cases in two weeks. At the same time, the total number of confirmed COVID-19 illnesses in the U.S. surpassed 9 million.
The New York Times reports cases are trended upward in 42 states over the last week, and 24 states added more cases than in any other week of the pandemic. Nine states broke records.
Washington updates vaccination distribution plan
State health officials provided an update Thursday on its vaccination distribution plan, as preparations are well underway to ready for a vaccine once one is approved and deemed safe.
The state Department of Health is encouraging health care providers to prepare to enroll as providers to help the state determine which locations will serve as initial sites. According to the DOH, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services provided a new preparation timeline this week and asked all jurisdictions to be ready for distribution by Nov. 15. Officials noted the preparation deadline does not mean a vaccine will be ready by that date, but rather that all states were instructed to be ready to deploy, in anticipation of when a final approval occurs.
On Tuesday, Washington entered a pact with Oregon, California, Colorado and Nevada to initiate an independent review of any COVID-19 vaccine before it is distributed.
Total coronavirus cases, hospitalizations and deaths by county:
Editors note: Patch is now updating these totals on a weekly, rather than daily, basis. Readers should keep in mind that the increases below represent infections, hospitalizations and deaths over a seven-day period.
|Adams||928 (+16)||58||11 (+1)|
|Asotin||275 (+72)||26 (+2)||8 (+1)|
|Benton||5,292 (+193)||415||135 (+1)|
|Chelan||2,014 (+32)||85 (+3)||17 (+1)|
|Clallam||269 (+9)||11 (+3)||1|
|Clark||4,473 (+293)||364 (+27)||79 (+2)|
|Cowlitz||823 (+31)||52 (+3)||7|
|Douglas||1,239 (+10)||60||11 (+2)|
|Franklin||4,885 (+164)||336 (+8)||68 (+1)|
|Grant||3,363 (+54)||180 (+7)||28 (+2)|
|Grays Harbor||719 (+47)||48 (+4)||11|
|Island||393 (+21)||40 (+1)||12|
|King||27,353 (+1,457)||2,613 (+46)||815 (+17)|
|Kitsap||1,547 (+94)||115 (+6)||22|
|Lewis||740 (+52)||56 (+3)||12|
|Mason||528 (+17)||31 (+4)||10 (+1)|
|Okanogan||1,123 (+26)||58 (+2)||11|
|Pend Oreille||145 (+8)||10 (+1)||1|
|Pierce||10,331 (+667)||1,004 (+48)||227 (+8)|
|San Juan||33 (+3)||2||0|
|Skagit||1,261 (+35)||104||24 (+1)|
|Snohomish||8,881 (+518)||921 (+31)||233 (+5)|
|Spokane||9,660 (+715)||649 (+47)||203 (+8)|
|Stevens||272 (+28)||22 (+2)||5|
|Thurston||1,656 (+133)||146 (+11)||33 (+10)|
|Walla Walla||1,210 (+161)||74 (+11)||6|
|Whatcom||1,596 (+43)||109 (+2)||50 (+1)|
|Whitman||1,824 (+91)||27 (+7)||18 (+6)|
|Yakima||11,931 (+142)||826 (+7)||273 (+2)|
|Unassigned||385 (+11)||10 (+2)||3|
|Total||106,573 (+5,228)||8,522 (+291)||2,366 (+70)|
The above numbers are provided by the state Department of Health, and some numbers differ from the totals provided separately by county health agencies.